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CERB was collected by high-income earners, new data shows – Global News

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Newly released data on emergency COVID-19 aid shows that some of the country’s highest-income earners used a key benefit for workers.

The $2,000-a-month Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) paid out just over $81.6 billion in benefits to 8.9 million people from March until it ended at the start of October.

Read more:
COVID-19 income aid could cost Canadians at tax time, experts say

It was predominantly used by people who earned under $47,630 in 2019, figures from the Canada Revenue Agency show, but those higher up the income ladder also applied for the aid program.

The CRA numbers show that at least 114,620 people who earned between about $100,000 and $200,000 last year applied for the CERB.

A further 14,070 people who had made more than $210,000 applied for the benefit.

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CERB is over: What happens now?


CERB is over: What happens now? – Sep 28, 2020

Lindsay Tedds, a tax policy expert at the University of Calgary, noted that many higher income earners saw their workplaces closed and self-employed workers had contracts suddenly cancelled, or invoices left unpaid.

“The point was to replace income that was lost due to the pandemic, lost because of government regulations shuttering the economy to control the virus,” Tedds wrote in an email.

The CERB was available to anyone who had made at least $5,000 in the preceding 12 months, and whose income crashed because of the pandemic, either from a drop in hours or being unable to work.

Read more:
Did you receive double CERB payments? The CRA wants its money back

Filing a tax return wasn’t part of eligibility rules.

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The issue earned a spot in the daily question period when the Conservatives asked about 823,580 recipients for whom the tax agency didn’t have 2019 income information at the time it compiled the data.

The figures, in response to a written question, were as of Sept. 23, but experts say many low-income earners don’t always file a return on time even though they won’t have any taxes owing.


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Coronavirus: Trudeau says over 240,000 Canadians applied for new CRB


Coronavirus: Trudeau says over 240,000 Canadians applied for new CRB – Oct 13, 2020

Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre said everyone who lost their jobs because of COVID-19-related shutdowns should have received the CERB, but he decried payment to what he called suspected fraud cases.

He asked what the government was doing to ensure “the money didn’t go to people who didn’t earn the right to receive it.”

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responded by saying any fraud would be “completely unacceptable.”

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Read more:
Retroactive CERB will still be available despite questions over rules: official

“The hardworking public servants in the CRA are doing an outstanding job and they are going to make sure that all claims are legitimate,” she said.

People can still apply for back payments of the CERB until Dec. 2.

The latest figures on its replacement, the Canada Recovery Benefit, show the amount in benefits paid has risen to over $2.72 billion given to more than 1.1 million people since it became available in late September.

A wage subsidy program, which has so far paid out $48 billion, and an emergency loan program round out some of the measures the Liberals took to keep employees on payrolls, and companies from going under.


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Harvest House says CERB payments fueling illicit drug market in Moncton


Harvest House says CERB payments fueling illicit drug market in Moncton – Sep 1, 2020

Data from the national statistics agency on Thursday showed companies that used the loan program in the spring often put the money toward paying wages and suppliers.

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Over half of businesses polled by Statistics Canada that received loans early on in the pandemic said the money was key to them keeping their doors open.

In all, 756,115 loans have been approved, valued at $30.24 billion, according to other figures tabled in the House of Commons this week.

The figures are up to Sept. 23, and show construction and retail companies in the top two spots for where the loans have gone by industry. About $9.8 billion in loans went to small businesses with earnings under $65,000.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Shares take a breather after stellar month, China data upbeat – reuters.com

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – World shares paused to assess a record-busting month on Monday as the prospect of a vaccine-driven economic recovery next year and yet more free money from central banks eclipsed immediate concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Passersby wearing protective face masks are reflected on a stock quotation board outside a brokerage, in Tokyo, Japan November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Helping sentiment was a survey showing factory activity in China handily beat forecasts in November, and the country’s central bank surprised with a helping of cheap loans. That left blue chips up 1.3% on the day and 7.4% for the month.

The rush to risk has also benefited oil and industrial commodities while undermining the safe-haven dollar and gold.

“November looks set to be an awesome month for equity investors with Europe leading the charge at a country/regional level,” said NAB analyst Rodrigo Catril.

Many European bourses are boasting their best month ever with France up 21% and Italy almost 26%. The MSCI measure of world stocks is up 13% for November so far, while the S&P 500 has climbed 11% to all-time peaks.

Early Monday, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.4%, to be up almost 11% for the month in its best performance since late 2011.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 eased 0.4%, but was still 15.4% higher on the month for the largest rise since 1994.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 dipped 0.4%, and EUROSTOXX 50 futures 0.6%.

“Markets are overbought and at risk of a short term pause,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital.

“However, we are now in a seasonally strong time of year and investors are yet to fully discount the potential for a very strong recovery next year in growth and profits as stimulus combines with vaccines.”

Cyclical recovery shares including resources, industrials and financials were likely to be relative outperformers, he added.

The surge in stocks has put some competitive pressure on safe-haven bonds but much of that has been cushioned by expectations of more asset buying by central banks.

Sweden’s Riksbank surprised last week by expanding its bond purchase program and the European Central Bank is likely to follow in December.

DOLLAR IN DECLINE

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies to Congress on Tuesday amid speculation of further policy action at its next meeting in mid-December.

As a result U.S. 10-year yields are ending the month almost exactly where they started at 0.84%, a solid performance given the exuberance in equities.

The U.S. dollar has not been as lucky.

“The idea that a potential Treasury Secretary (Janet) Yellen and Fed chair Powell could work more closely to shape and coordinate super easy monetary policy and massive fiscal stimulus that could drive a rapid post pandemic recovery saw the dollar under pressure,” said Robert Rennie, head of financial market strategy at Westpac.

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar index was pinned at 91.771 having shed 2.4% for the month to lows last seen in mid-2018.

The euro has caught a tailwind from the relative outperformance of European stocks and climbed 2.7% for the month so far to reach $1.1967. A break of the September peak at $1.2011 would open the way to a 2018 top at $1.2555.

The dollar has even declined against the Japanese yen, a safe-haven of its own, losing 0.7% in November to reach 103.89 yen, though it remains well above key support at 103.16.

Sterling stood at $1.3334, having climbed steadily this month to its highest since September, as investors wagered a Brexit deal would be brokered even as the deadline for talks loomed ever larger.

One major casualty of the rush to risk has been gold, which was near a five-month trough at $1,771 an ounce having shed 5.6% so far in November.

Oil, in contrast, has benefited from the prospect of a demand revival should the vaccines allow travel and transport to resume next year. [O/R]

Some profit-taking set in early Monday ahead of an OPEC+ meeting to decide whether the producers’ group will extend large output cuts. Brent crude futures fell 52 cents to $47.66, while U.S. crude eased 60 cents to $44.93 a barrel.

Editing by Lincoln Feast & Simon Cameron-Moore

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Alberta reports 1,608 new cases of COVID-19, second highest number during pandemic – CBC.ca

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Alberta reported 1,608 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths on Sunday.

The total number of active cases in Alberta grew to 15,692, according to the province. There are 435 people in the hospital and 95 in intensive care. 

According to the province there is a “brief delay in a death being reported to Alberta Health or in a death being confirmed post-mortem as having COVID-19 as a contributing cause”.

The nine deaths brings the provincial total to 533. Five of which are linked to the outbreak at the Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre in Edmonton. They include a man and woman, both in their 80s who died on Nov. 25. They had underlying conditions along with COVID-19. A man in his 70s who died on Nov. 26 who also had underlying conditions. Another man and woman in their 90s who died on Nov. 27 also had one or more additional conditions.

The remaining deaths include a man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Westlock Continuing Care Centre in North Zone. The province did not confirm if he had underlying conditions. Another man in his 90s in south zone who died on Nov. 28 also with underlying conditions. 

Another man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Laurel Heights Retirement Residence in Edmonton Zone who died on Nov. 28, and a man in his 80s who died on Nov. 29 due to the outbreak at Clifton Manor in Calgary Zone. The province could not confirm underlying conditions for either. 

A regional breakdown of cases as of Saturday shows the impact of COVID-19 in different parts of the province:

  • Calgary zone: 5,756 active cases

  • South zone: 642 active cases

  • Edmonton zone: 7,230 active cases

  • North zone: 857 active cases

  • Central zone: 1,101 active cases

  • Unknown: 106 active cases

The majority of people in the hospital and ICU are from the Edmonton zone. There are 222 people hospitalized in Edmonton and 50 in intensive care. In comparison, Calgary has 138 people in hospital and 33 in intensive care. The remaining zones’ hospitalizations are in double digits.

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ICU admissions near 100 in Alberta, 1,608 new COVID-19 cases – Calgary Herald

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The current outbreak at Clifton Manor, in southeast Calgary, has had 41 positive cases, 39 of which are active, with one recovery and one death. This is the second outbreak at Clifton Manor. The first resulted in seven deaths and 38 recoveries.

The Clifton Manor long-term care home in Calgary’s southeast, as seen on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. Photo by Brendan Miller/Postmedia

Hundreds of anti-maskers rally in Calgary

Saturday’s anti-mask protest of approximately 1,000 people in front of city hall was led by a group called Walk for Freedom, which said on social media it was rallying to “protect our Charter rights.”

On Friday, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi called anti-mask rallies “illegal” due to provincial limits on outdoor gatherings.

New provincial rules introduced Tuesday restrict outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 10 people and many municipalities, including Calgary, have bylaws making the use of face coverings mandatory in many settings, though they aren’t required outdoors.

“Of course, police will always use their discretion in cases like this. They don’t want the enforcement to cause more danger for people,” Nenshi said. “Whether you agree or disagree, it is your right to assemble peacefully, however right now the law says you can only assemble in a group of 10.”

The same day, Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said the province expected enforcement of COVID-19 public-health orders to ramp up, granting 700 additional peace officers across the province the powers to issue fines starting at $1,000 for egregious violations.

“As minister of justice, my expectation is that those who are in violation of the measures that we have put in place would have to be held accountable,” Madu said.

Shawn Rupchan with the Calgary Police Service said there wasn’t enforcement at the rally itself but there could be something on followup.

— With files from Jason Herring

sbabych@postmedia.com
Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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